How does the work life look like from the point of view of a graduating student

The beginning of a new year. The time of new beginnings. I sit at my kitchen table and look at the blinking cursor in the empty Word document. My mind, however, has been lately all but clear and serene. I have been working on my master´s thesis and pondering on my future career - sometimes even till early hours of the morning. Why does this theme arouse feelings of anxiety? Shouldn´t it be a reason to celebrate?

Graduation certainly requires celebration but I can´t deny that the present work life seems a bit of a jungle. I have heard stories from people in my parents’ generation on how they just went asking for a job in their youth and chose the place with highest salary. When they got their first job that corresponded with their education, they very often got a permanent contract.

Nowadays competition for all jobs is very intense. There might even be hundreds of qualified applicants and standing out of this mass is difficult. This has created a market for recruitment and head hunting services which means that employers can outsource a risky and time consuming recruitment process to other professionals. Without further knowledge of this branch I believe it is sometimes the best way to find a suitable candidate. But this trend of development frustrates at least the younger students because they need to submit their information in various different CV banks etc. and the recruitment process for a simple student job might take even weeks.

In addition to hard competition, the present work life is marked by the significance of the networks, presence in social media and a polished profile there. This can lead to a win- win situation when an applicant is recruited through the networks to do a job that maybe wasn’t even advertised yet. This saves both the applicant and the employer time and money. According to Sitra´s research (a Finnish future fund) approximately 75% of all vacancies in Finland are filled by utilizing networks only. So, if your parents complain you being online all the time, you can settle the matter by stating that you are taking care of your connections and keeping abreast of the latest developments in your field, even though you watched a funny cat video or two every now and then.

Digitalization and globalization change the world of work, too. New occupational structures are emerging and some professions will fade away. This means constant learning for all of us, even a change of career for some. Probably even I don´t have the skills and competencies yet that I will need in my work in ten years. No wonder if everything seems a bit chaotic, I guess.

Even though it requires quite an effort to start a career today, I see a lot of possibilities too. You can accumulate your know-how by following your passions. If you keep your eyes open, you might find job opportunities in very surprising places. From my point of view work life resembles surfing. It is a bit terrifying but simultaneously so addictive! You might sometimes get water in your nose or get burned by jellyfish but the feeling when you finally catch the right wave and ride the whitecap down is just awesome. And your muscles grow unnoticed.

These are the thoughts of today. Let´s see what kind of a blog I´ll write in three years.

Anu Märkälä

Anu is a content provider for Europass.

Thoughts on digitalisation, globalisation - and cat videos.

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